From Revenge to Redemption
by Brother Nathan
NOTE: Brother Nathan was born in Egypt, a country that became increasingly hostile to his Christian family, resulting in the brutal murder of his father. Rather than allowing persecution to destroy his faith, he overcame his anger and need for revenge and now shares the gospel of love in his homeland.
All around us non-Christians could see evidence of the way believers had been treated by the Islamic extremists. Our Muslim neighbors saw the ashes of burned churches. They had witnessed the beatings—even murders—of friends and neighbors, simply because they were followers of Jesus. But they also saw the loving way Christians responded. They could see with their own eyes that we walked the walk, and didn’t just talk the talk. When friends and neighbors asked about our response, we continued to say that Jesus loves everyone, no matter who they may be.
Jesus is the only true solution for violence. My thoughts sometimes also took me back to the day I accepted Jesus as Savior. I remembered the Lord saying, Nathan, you must forgive the men who killed your father. Slowly I began to realize these words were at the absolute center of what God wanted to say to my people. We needed to lay aside our hatred and passion to get even.
This was the message my people need to hear, not just that day, but every day until Jesus returns to this earth. It is not jihad that can solve the problems we face in these troubled times—it is Jesus. Only by turning to the Prince of Peace can we find true peace, both in our world and, more importantly, in our own lives. This is the message God has burned deep into my heart, and it is the message I must proclaim to my people as long as God gives me strength.
It is easy sometimes to think we are the first ones who have ever walked through some dark valley of sorrow; but generally speaking, this is really not the case. Often we can find a person in the Bible who has experienced something similar. In my case there is a man from the Old Testament whose story is somewhat like mine—but much worse, to be sure.
The book of Genesis tells us about Joseph, who suffered many painful things in his life. No doubt there were days when he thought God had forgotten him, when he wondered why he had to suffer so. And Joseph’s story has helped me put the pieces of my puzzle together, especially when I get to verse 23 of Genesis 50. I have even changed the wording of the verse a bit to describe what happened that Friday in Karya Maghola. My version goes something like this: what the terrorists meant for evil, God intended for good. And with that Scripture in mind, I just continue the journey the Lord has laid out for me, knowing that his ways are the best ways no matter where they may take me.
Brother Nathan with David Culross, Love Casts Out Fear, Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, © 2015. Used by permission.
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